As many of you too are experiencing, the uncertainty caused by the abrupt arrival of COVID-19 into our countries, communities and homes is unsettling. You may be out of work, under quarantine as you have been traveling and returned home, you may have parents, siblings, children, friends, neighbors or coworkers who have been exposed. And your usual ability to cope with stress isn’t working like it used to!
Friend, may I reassure you today that none of this global pandemic is catching God by surprise?
There is a reason why He has included so many verses which address fear head on in His Word… because he knew we, each and every one of His children, would need them! To deepen our trust, to grow in our faith, to hope despite the circumstance, to see His Light shine through the darkness about us.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
FIVE STEPS TO DE-STRESS YOURSELF WITH GOD’S HELP
- ADMIT you are fearful, anxious and stressed. It is okay to not be feeling joyful or calm when you are weighed down by your emotions. Name it for what it is… you may call it stress, which is 99% rooted in – you guessed it, fear.
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)
- BRING your fear to God in prayer. Write your prayer down, ask God what He has to say to you about it, and wait for His response. He may give you a picture, a word, or a quote. Make note of these each time you pray. If you are verbal, pray out loud instead of writing it down, but follow the other steps. Your prayer does not need to be flowery or eloquent, but honest and real. (Remember, He knows how you feel already, He is waiting for you to open the lines of communication and talk to Him about it.)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
- CHECK out what the Bible has to say to you about being afraid. If you are a list maker like me, head over to Bible Gateway & print off the full list of verses (this link here is in the NIV, keywords: do not be afraid). Make note of the verses which speak to you the most. Post them on your fridge, bathroom mirror, bedside table, desk. Memorize one verse at a time, reading it out as you do. Try adding a verse a week to help you remember what God says about being fearful.
“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” (Deuteronomy 3:22)
- DEPEND on Him. Keep your eyes fixed on God as your Provider and Protector. Each and every time you feel the fear rising up within you again, go back to the first step and work your way through these steps again. It takes time to develop a new automatic response to stress, and there is no better time than now to put this into practice.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (John 4:18)
- EXPECT God to meet you as you reach out in faith, inviting Him to be at work within you. He is always present with us, and just a prayer away. He loves to answer our prayers, and to spend time with us.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
May your stress ebb away, your hope rise and your faith grow as you choose to look to God for all your needs, especially your emotional ones, in this difficult season.
Take care, as you look to find your provision from His capable hands and inner rest in His Presence,
(Written for Christian Women at Work @chrstnwmenatwrk)